When it comes to the Gryphon receivers, Abdraman Abdel-Rahim might have a bit of an advantage over his teammates. He’s the lone one to have played in a Ryan Sheahan system before.
“I was supposed to go back to Calgary after a little ride with Coach Sheahan there, but when Coach Sheahan was able to get here it was closer to home and we spoke,” said the Montreal native. “I know his offence and I wanted to play again. It only made sense coming out here.”
Abdel-Rahim was a receiver with the Calgary Dinos in 2017 when the current Gryphon head coach was an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator there. While he had three catches for 56 yards in the regular season that year, he became more involved in the playoffs when he caught five passes for 133 yards including a touchdown. Those totals included two catches for 22 yards in a Mitchell Bowl semifinal loss to Laval.
In three games with the Gryphons this year, Abdel-Rahim has six catches for 107 yards and he picked up his first touchdown in Guelph in the 53-19 win over the York Lions at Alumni Stadium.
“Honestly, it wasn’t enough,” he said. “We left a lot of points out on the board. That touchdown was just to add on, but for me personally, I wanted more for our group, for our collective. We needed to reach 80 points and we didn’t. It was a good play, but it isn’t the one that won us the game.”
Abdel-Rahim’s touchdown came with less than five and a half minutes left in the game and was the middle one of three touchdowns that allowed the Gryphons to pull away from York.
“We had them in a position to put our foot down their throats and we didn’t,” he said. “We let them up a bit. We put up a few points at the end, but if we’re executing on full force, we’re putting up a lot of points on anyone and we’ve just got to roll. The only thing stopping the Guelph Gryphons’ offence is the Guelph Gryphons’ offence at this point.”
The final 34-point winning margin was a little misleading as the Gryphons collected 27 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Before then York looked like it might take control of the game.
“We weren’t executing. We weren’t rolling,” Abdel-Rahim said. “There were too many stagnant moments. We’re on a rollercoaster going up and down. It’s either we’re up and we’re out of there and nobody’s catching us or we’re playing hard. I can only salute our defence and special teams because they carried us into the momentum to keep us in the game. Without them, it would be a whole different ball game.”
This is Abdel-Rahim’s first year in the OUA league, but he hasn’t noticed a huge difference between play here and play in the Canada West conference with Calgary.
“It’s a bit different, but it’s still football,” he said. “It’s a new league to me. I haven’t played everybody out there yet and there are still great teams out there to face and we’ve got to get ready for everybody out there.”
And Abdel-Rahim knows he’s got to do his part to help get the Gryphons’ offence into top gear.
“I’ve got to play more physical, be more of a leader and execute my plays better,” he said. “That’s all I can do.”